B2B Marketers ‘Significantly’ Underestimate the Power of Thought Leadership, According to a New Study

Posted by David Terry on May 20, 2019

B2B marketers are currently ‘significantly’ underestimating the impact their thought leadership efforts have on business opportunities, according to a new study from Edelman and LinkedIn.

The report - titled the Edelman-LinkedIn B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study - surveyed 1,200 US business decision-makers, content creators and salespeople to better understand the shifts in perception of thought leadership as well as its impact throughout the customer journey. 

It found that not only does thought leadership content influence the majority of  buyers, but it also can help brands win,  retain and even grow customer business.

Despite this, the report found that B2B marketers are significantly underestimating the impact that thought leadership has on demand generation compared to actual feedback from B2B buyers.

Before we get into what this means, let’s first take a look at what thought leadership actually is.

So, what is thought leadership?

A thought leader is an industry experts that people turn to for professional advice. Their opinions hold substantial weight and they are often seen as the leaders of their particular specialty or industry.

The term is typically used by marketers to reference the content that these industry leaders share. This content is used to enhance the reputation, and brand name, of an organization as a thought leader within the sector they operate in - something we work hard on for our clients here at The Brit Agency.

Why does it matter that B2B marketers are underestimating the impact of thought leadership?

B2B inbound marketers often cite the importance of thought leadership when it comes to content creation, it’s for that reason that it’s so surprising that a large number of B2B marketers don’t actually see the true value in it.

Particularly so when the report found that consumption of thought leadership has grown from 50% to 58% over the past year, as well as a huge 55% of decision-makers stating they use thought leadership as an important way to vet a business that they are considering working with.

Despite this, only 39% of content creators think their thought leadership helps with lead generation. In fact, the study found a number of statistics that prove the lack of understanding sales and marketing leaders have about the value of thought leadership.

  1. 47 percent of C-suite execs say they will share their information with sellers after reading quality thought leadership from the brand - but only 39 percent of content creators believe thought leadership helps with lead generation.
  2. 58 percent of decision-makers say they choose a business off of their thought leadership - but only 26 percent of sellers believe that thought leadership is directly responsible for closing business.
  3. 61 percent of decision-makers say they are more willing to pay premium prices to work with a brand that articulates a clear vision through thought leadership - but only 14 percent of sellers believe thought leadership allows them to charge more than their competitors who produce lower quality or no thought leadership.

The moral of the story?

Thought leadership is hugely important for decision-makers when it comes to closing business - and B2B Inbound Marketers need to understand the real value of what is a fantastic content creation opportunity.

Want to learn more about the importance of thought leadership and what B2B marketers should be doing to revolutionize your content offerings?

Contact the Brit Agency team of experts today.

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Topics: Digital Marketing, B2B Inbound Marketing